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HistorianAlternative titles

Pouherenga Kōrero o-Mua

This job is sometimes referred to as:

Art Historian
Genealogist/Family Historian
Historical Researcher
Oral Historian
Public Historian

Historians research, write and present information about events and people of the past and present. They may also teach history.

Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733

Entry requirements

To become a historian you need to have at least a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Social Sciences degree majoring in history. However, most employers prefer you to have an Honours or Masters degree.

A Doctorate in history is preferred for most academic positions.

Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter tertiary training. Useful subjects include English, history, art history, classics, sociology, geography, or languages.

Personal requirements

Historians need to be:

  • accurate, enquiring, patient and persistent
  • able to keep information private
  • able to make good judgements
  • open-minded and have an awareness and understanding of a range of different cultures
  • skilled at communicating both orally and in writing
  • skilled at interviewing
  • good at planning and organising.
Nepia Mahuika
"To be an historian you have got to be prepared to do some reading, and to get into books, and to write. Being an historian challenges you as a writer. I wanted to not just know about the past, but I wanted to be able to write about the past in an effective and articulate way."

Nepia Mahuika - Historian

Useful experience

Useful experience for historians includes research or writing, or library or archive work.

Historians should also be widely read and have experienced a range of New Zealand's culture and heritage, especially Māori culture and language.

Related courses

View information on courses in the course database

Find out more about training

Ministry for Culture and Heritage
(04) 499 4229 - info@mch.govt.nz - www.mch.govt.nz/index.html
NZ Historic Places Trust/Pouhere Taonga
(04) 472 4341 - information@historic.org.nz - www.historic.org.nz
Professional Historians' Association of New Zealand (PHANZA)
(040 471 6445 - president@phanza.org.nz - www.phanza.org.nz/
Waitangi Tribunal
(04) 914 3000 - information@waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz - www.waitangi-tribunal.govt.nz/


years of training required

Updated 15 Feb 2013